Acclimatising a cat: A successful start in the new home

The scratching tree is in place, the litter tray is neatly lined and the little cat bowls are waiting to be filled with tasty food and fresh water. Finally the day has come: You can pick up your velvet paw. We will explain to you how you can quickly get used to each other, overcome possible hurdles and successfully become a team.

Our tip: Cats are still widely considered to be loners, but keeping them alone is not recommended (all information on this can be found in our article "Kepping a cat alon: Yes or no?".) Especially young kittens need to be socialised with other kittens of their own age. Only in individual cases can a cat be kept alone.

Moving in: The first day with your cat

You're finally sitting in the car with your new, velvet-pawed roommate. You probably can't wait to open the transport basket at home and fall straight onto the sofa, cuddling with your cat. But whether it's from a breeder, a shelter or a previous owner, the move and the many impressions at pick-up and arrival may mean a lot of stress for the little tiger. Your cat is likely to be frightened at first and may want to stay in the carrier a little more withdrawn. At best, it will decide for itself when to leave the safe place and explore the new area. Find a quiet room, leave the transport box open and sit on the floor away from it. If you talk quietly to your cat from time to time, she will quickly get used to your voice.

Depending on how brave your little house cat is, he may start by roaming around you in large circles or sniffing at you curiously. Even if the cat makes direct contact with you, keep a low profile and avoid taking it in your arms or holding it tightly. If she seems relaxed, you can extend her exploration to all rooms of the flat.

Our tip: Particularly shy and fearful cats are best left alone in the room so that they can process the new smells and explore their surroundings carefully and undisturbed. At best, place a cat basket, a litter tray and their cat bowls together with the transport basket in a closed room.

Cat Retreat Basket

Settling in: 7 tips for the first weeks with a cat

Do you want your new flatmate to settle in well and feel completely at home? Then here are the most important tips for a successful start to your life together:

  1. Hiding places: In the first few days, your cat may still like to hide. Give her plenty of space to rest and retreat and place her food, water bowl and litter tray near her favourite hiding place, e.g. her cat cave.
  2. Voice recognition: Go about your daily life as usual. When you pass your pet, say a few words to him. This will help your pet get used to your voice and learn to tell if you are in a good mood or having a stressful day.
  3. Tools: If you want to help your cat relax, you can use a preparation that mimics the scent of her feel-good pheromone. You can arouse their curiosity by placing a catnip pillow in front of their hiding place or applying catnip spray to the cat tree and cat toys (e.g. teaser or stuffed mouse).
  4. Proximity: Spend time with your cat. At best, sit with her regularly or even sleep with her in the same room. Always keep some distance - for example, how about reading a captivating book while relaxing on the sofa near your cat?
  5. Stroking: Patience is the magic word here! Let your pet take the first step. If it gently nestles around your legs, repeatedly touches your arms when you're relaxing on the sofa or even jumps onto your lap, then use the body contact for the first quiet cuddles. Your velvet paw likes cuddly massages on the neck and back best of all.
  6. Cat and children: If there are children in the household, explain to them how to behave properly and why calmness and distance are important, especially in the first days.
  7. Eating behaviour: Offer your cat wet and dry food. If it is a kitten, you will find more information at the bottom of the article. The cat may not eat on the first day as everything is so exciting. As long as it drinks enough water, this is not yet a cause for concern. Cats who are particularly timid or shy tend to eat at night, when everyone in the house is asleep. So make sure you have some fresh food ready for it in the evening.

Our tip: If your kitty still doesn't touch its food on the second day, put it a little closer to its favourite place. Put a trail of cat treats in the direction of the bowl: this is the best way to lure it out. Some cats may have diarrhoea or vomiting at first - triggered by the excitement and the possible change of food. If the symptoms do not subside within a few days or if your cat refuses to eat for a long time, a visit to the vet is advisable to check for possible illnesses.

Acclimatise kittens: So that the little ones settle in well

Basically, you get kittens used to their new home just like you would with older cats, e.g. shelter cats or animals from another previous owner. However, as they are much smaller and inexperienced, we will give you tips on how to make the first time easier:

  • Buy a scratching tree: Kittens are often clumsy, sometimes staggering awkwardly over narrow objects or even falling over. Climbing is also often difficult for them. That's why your first kitten kit should include a scratching tree specially designed for small kittens. This is flatter and wider than the regular scratching furniture for adult cats.
  • Limit the range of movement: You can't watch and protect your kitten around the clock. Therefore, put it in a puppy enclosure with its litter tray and toys for a while. This way your kitten can process the many impressions and stimuli and you can use the time out for other things.
  • Choose food: Kittens need special kitten food, as the need for certain nutrients is higher. Bones, muscles and nerves only grow healthily if the individual "building blocks" in the food are correctly dosed.

Acclimatising a new cat when animals are already present

Maybe you are a passionate pet owner and already share your life with a dog, cat or mouse? We have a few useful tips for you in these cases too:

Acclimatising a second cat - this is how it works

If you are already a happy cat owner and would like to socialise your kitty with a new addition, give your four-legged friends enough time to get used to the new situation first. These are the most important tips for reuniting:

  • Residence: Do not choose a room for the newcomer where your first cat prefers to stay, and do not choose a passage room. This way you avoid resentment and conflicts.
  • Smells: Always stroke both cats alternately. This way, their scents will mix on you. When your velvet paws sniff you, they also get to know each other's scent.
  • Equality: Place the bowls of both cats so that they can see each other from a safe distance when they eat, but have no possibility of contact. Always feed them at the same time. This is a positive way to condition your cats to eat. Try to give both cats equal stroking time. However, your first cat may need an extra dose of love now and then!
  • Social behaviour: Kittens already learn their first rules of etiquette from their mother and littermates and usually react appropriately to signals from their fellow cats. To make sure that no conflicts arise during the first sniffing and that you can intervene in case of an escalating quarrel, it is best to stay in the immediate vicinity during the first meeting.

Our tip: There may be territorial fights and quarrels, with which the cats clarify their hierarchy. These conflicts can seem very brutal, but serious injuries usually do not occur. Observe the behaviour of all animals, but in the event of a fight, only intervene in an emergency, e.g. by frightening the two rivals with a loud noise or a splash of water - then the quarrelling cats should first let go of each other.

Getting your cat used to a dog

If you live with a dog, you should put it on a leash before you meet your cat for the first time. This way it can set the pace and go on the offensive. For more tips, see our article "Like dog and cat«? - How living together works well".

Getting cats and small animals used to each other

Do you have rabbits, mice or birds in the house? Then take enough time to accustom them. Small animals are natural prey for cats. Your cat must learn to accept the small rodents and flying animals in your living space as members of the family. The following tips will help:

  • It is especially important that you treat your small animals lovingly. In this way, you show your cat trust and a bond with the supposed prey.
  • It is welcome to watch you clean the cage and enclosure and sniff curiously at the bedding.
  • Take your velvet paw in your arms and stroke it when you are standing together in front of the aviary or cage. It will probably follow the movements of the small animals and stretch out curiously towards the bars.
  • Trust your cat calmly and give her the freedom to go closer to the small animal cage. However, if the hunting instinct is awakened, separate the animals immediately.
  • Also, do not leave your cat alone in a room with the small animals until the reunion is successfully completed.

Our tip: Of course, friendships can also develop between the supposed hunter and the prey animal. Kittens are inexperienced and not yet used to small animals. The easiest way to get them used to your long ears or guinea pigs is to let them run around together in the room. For example, you can let them run around the room together. However, always keep them in the room with you! As a general rule, it is better not to let a mouse and a cat get together, because if the hunting instinct is awakened, the small rodent has nothing to offer your cat.

Free roamers: How to start your outdoor adventure safely

Does your house cat already sit at the window in the first few days and curiously observe the hustle and bustle in front of the house? It' s probably already waiting eagerly for its first steps outdoors. However, it is important to remember that even if you want to fulfil your cat's wish as soon as possible, it should know where its home is and already have a bond with you.

Our tip: Get your pet used to a cat harness for the first exploratory trips outside. If it accepts the harness well, you can put it on a leash and take it on its first adventures in freedom. However, as soon as your cat explores the surroundings on its own, take the harness off: this will prevent it from getting caught in bushes or undergrowth and injuring itself in the worst case.

If you have a brave and particularly trusting cat, it usually takes 14 days before you can go out together for the first time. If your velvet paw is rather shy and is slowly settling in, it is better to wait a little longer before taking it outdoors for the first time.

Conclusion: It doesn't matter whether you want to acclimatise kittens or adult cats: Patience, affection and respectful treatment of all involved are important. How did you manage to settle in your pet and pave the way for a happy cat life? We look forward to your tips!

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